Russia expels 35 US diplomats in tit-for-tat measures

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Russia has announced it will banish 35 US diplomats in response to Washington’s diplomatic measures. The US has accused Moscow of sanctioning cyberattacks aimed at undermining its presidential elections in November.

Some US staff will be leaving the US Embassy in Russia

Moscow on Friday announced retaliatory measures against the US State Department’s decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats and close two compounds used by Russian intelligence operatives.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at least 35 US diplomats will be expelled from the country, reported Russian news agencies. They include 31 diplomats based in Moscow and 4 others in St. Petersburg.

US diplomats will also be banned from entering a dacha and warehouse in Moscow, Lavrov added, citing measures announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We cannot leave such actions without a response. Reciprocity is the law of diplomacy and international relations,” Lavrov said.

Washington announced the measures on Thursday, stating they were enacted as reprisal for Moscow’s involvement in undermining the US presidential elections through cyber attacks.

However, Lavrov on Friday dismissed the allegations, saying they were baseless. Moscow has consistetly denied its involvement in cyber attacks that targeted the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev described the US sanctions as an “anti-Russian death throes.”

ls/sms (Reuters, dpa, AP)